Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: You down with TPP?

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  • BenWilson,

    Sounds like you've brewed the perfect scrap. Sorely tempted to put the kids in care to watch this one live.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8500 posts Report Reply

  • LIISA,

    Susan Chalmers - Internet New Zealand policy lead - discusses copyright ramifications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations w. Eva Radich on RNZ Concert's Upbeat - might be of interest?

    Wellie • Since May 2008 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    In its early days the TPP seemed to be a cooperative agreement between some countries. Its intent seemed to be pretty much to work out the things that would be mutually beneficial and do those. Where issues would benefit one party and harm the other they were set aside from the agreement (mostly).

    But now we are dealing with the US and the whole agreement seems to be about giving the US benefits, while the US gives away as little as they possibly can. That is pretty much standard business practice in the US and very much old school diplomacy. The idea that you could share a benefit is alien, the idea that you could give away anything more than you absolutely have to is abhorent. If their share is 99% and our share is 1% they argue that we should be grateful for the 1% and go sit back in our seats.

    I see no reason to even talk to people like that. However, this government is used to that kind of bargaining and are aware that if they manage things right then the 1% they get will go to their campaign contributors and it will be all good for them personally. That the rest of the country will be harmed is of no importance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3351 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Once again our economic and sovereign independence is being sold from under us by stealth by the <redacted but uncomplimentary> National Party government.

    They are seriously pissing me off.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Gordon Campbell is cutting about NZ's embarrassing knicker-waving to the US in the TPP negotiations.

    Another article notes the potentially conflicted interests of the Minister in charge of negotiating on our behalf.

    Groser seemed pretty confident in his Inside US Trade interview that he can both please the Americans, and manage any outcry that might break out here at home: “I am confident we can find ways that advance U.S. interests [on these two issues] without causing projectile political vomiting in New Zealand, and many of the other countries of the TPP,” Groser said.

    Plainly, by being seen to be seeking to “advance US interests” and by casting himself as a deal broker within the TPP, Groser would also be doing no harm at all to his bid to become the next head of the World Trade Organisation. Let’s just hope and pray that Groser’s personal ambition and New Zealand’s best interests manage to intersect at some point.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    You know, in many businesses over 30+ years, I've *never* come across an instance where having a free trade agreement has helped make a sale. Sure, it became much easier to sell inside Europe once the Single European Market came in, but that's a total abolition of customs backed by a political union (sending a package from London to Amsterdam is the same as sending it to Brighton).

    Generally, if you make stuff people want to buy, they'll buy it, even if our governments hate each other. (and even if X won't buy from Y, they will from Z, so W buys less from Z and winds up buying from X. If you see what I mean).

    And on specifics, people buy our milk powder because they haven't got the skills/pasture/weather to farm cows themselves, and they buy our trees because they haven't got the land/weather to grow their own. The US has plenty of the above, and will *never* buy large amounts of primary produce from NZ.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Waugh,

    I think you'd have been better off getting Jane Kelsey instead of Bernard Hickey.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dave Waugh,

    I think you’d have been better off getting Jane Kelsey instead of Bernard Hickey.

    But we don't have Tim Groser either. We're a media show -- hence, two journalists discussing coverage.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18843 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    I've been astonished at the roaring silence from the Maori party (and Maori MPs in general with the exception of Hone Harawira) on the TPPA. Surely this looks like being the biggest undermining of te Tririti o Waitangi since, oh, November 5th 1881?

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    To be fair, Fran O'Sullivan also has a non-journalistic interest with her involvement in the US-NZ Trade Council and associated cheerleading.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm hearing a lot of allegations of conflict of interest being thrown around, and I'm not entirely sure it means what some people think it means.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11941 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    For a good understanding, I recommend the Auditor General's historic report into Hawkes Bay District Health Board.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    Rod Oram's recent SST column was rather interesting about the agricultural/dairy access to the USA. (No link as I can't unscramble Fairax's Stuff site.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    FWIW, from the other side of the ditch, the Australian Council of Trade Unions is "highly concerned at the direction of the agreement." From their media release, this quote from NZCTU's Bill Rosenbery:

    Many of the proposals would undermine good, well-paid jobs, public services, affordable medicines and public health, and our ability to make laws and regulations in the public interest. They would cut off options for the sustainable development of our economies. Instead the proposals give greater power to large corporations and fleet-footed investors who would have little interest in creating good jobs and improving social conditions

    Other comment, by Andrew Dettmer, National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, states "deep concerns at the way the negotiations are being conducted."

    The full release is here

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    people buy our milk powder because

    they have absolutely no faith in their own country's dairy companies and Western companies generally and New Zealand in particular have a reputation for producing safe, clean, quality product and not playing fast and loose with health, safety and nutritional regulations. But there are plenty both in NZ and elsewhere determined to ruin that reputation in order to make a fast buck.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2076 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    I'm with Gareth Morgan on this one.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig: We can’t have any real visibility of any conflicts of interest given we don’t know what has been negotiated (or – really – by whom). I particularly do not trust the National Party. They were gungho to whore the lives of Kiwis in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to get an FTA with the US. Simon Power and Wayne Mapp said so in no uncertain terms. They were hardly alone. People willing to kill for more trade and profit won’t give a rat’s about our sovereignty. It’s the ultimate expression of “conflict of interest" (business interests trumping the lives and well being of Kiwi soldiers)….and on the public record.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Chowdhury, in reply to Dave Waugh,

    Kelsey is too strident and, dare I say it, academic. Hickey will do a good job.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    This is one of those issue where no matter how much I read about it (and I know I should cos it sounds bloody dangerous – or not), I can’t seem to get any sensible grasp on what is really involved . Every aspect being discussed seems to be ‘open to interpretation’ and will only work well if everyone plays nice. If the parties involved decide to be naughty, then it appears that the ‘worst case scenario’ is pretty ugly. I believe wholeheartedly that National would sell the country down the toilet for any short-term gain they could manage but what are they chances that they can commit us to something binding before the next election? And where do Labour (or National-lite as I now like to think of them) stand on it?

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I hope you'll tweak Fran O'Sullivan about this column, in which she seems perplexed that the majority of voices in the academic world are opposed to the TPPA.

    What I think she really hasn't got is that while many business academics might be in favour of trade liberalisation, it doesn't follow that they should favour the TPPA. The leaked copyright and patent proposals are distinctly illiberal (no true liberal regime would forbid parallel importing), and based on previous form, there is no reason to expect the Americans to actually give us access for our agricultural products -- in that respect trade deals with the US are like Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football. O'Sullivan seems to have an oddly naive belief in this area which is at odds with her normal skepticism.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2950 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    O'Sullivan seems to have an oddly naive belief in this area which is at odds with her normal skepticism.

    Confirmation bias is, I believe, a partial explanation.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2230 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I think most of our milk (powder) exports to China still go in bulk to those untrusted local companies who package and sell it. I think you're referring to a small grey market of NZ domestic product that sells at a premium, but ISTR those exports are technically illegal.

    But yeah. And the other things is that as overseas producers raise their game, our advantage will lessen. How much milk could Africa produce if it was less fucked up?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    Rod Oram's recent SST column was rather interesting about the agricultural/dairy access to the USA. (No link as I can't unscramble Fairax's Stuff site.)

    One of these ones?

    Edit: That site is sooo broken

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2080 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    My non-lawyer understanding is that it is illegal for anybody who is not a registered dairy exporter to export dairy products from NZ, that's including posting a couple of cans to friends or relatives overseas. So the grey market is a darker shade of grey than most equivalents. I've seen more than a few articles in the Chinese press of late saying "it's all back on!" now that the MPI/Customs crackdown has ended.

    I've been following this issue the last few months, and it's quite worrying. I know of one not small producer whose products have failed AQSIQ inspection at least twice this year (assuming, of course, that the brands' claims as to who made the powder are true). I've heard of others who import cheap non-NZ powder, package it in NZ, and ship to China. I've come across two brands that certainly seem to have trademarks and companies registered (often to a distinctly residential-looking address) in NZ, but seem to operate out of a Chinese port, and it's really hard to tell where their product is manufactured. And there's the 假洋牌/jia3 yang2pai2 (can't do tones properly on the crappy old office computer)/fake Western brand phenomenon in which an entirely Chinese company slaps "made in New Zealand" on otherwise purely Chinese product and sells it for a small fortune.

    Ok, one of these problems NZ can do very little about. I do know some in the industry are working hard to do what they can to protect NZ's reputation because the understand the risk they face if dodgy operators undermine it. But I don't see much evidence of effort on the part of the government (politicians or bureaucrats) to clean up the dodgier parts of the industry.

    Not relevant to the TPPA, of course, but I seem to be seeing fairly similar attitudes on the part of government and some in industry/business in both issues.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2076 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Not relevant to the TPPA, of course

    IP is all about reputation and value premiums, so highly relevant if we trade that off for last century's priorities.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16627 posts Report Reply

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